The investment management industry faces no shortage of challenges. Client expectations are on the rise as they seek the same kinds of highly customized, consultative, and engaging experiences they’re accustomed to in virtually every other aspect of their lives. At the same time, clients are becoming increasingly more sensitive to fees. That sensitivity is putting considerable pressure on investment management firms to reduce their fees or, in some cases, eliminate them altogether.
Further complicating matters is the fact that many products in the industry are becoming commoditized, meaning that unless they can find other ways to add value, most firms are forced to compete solely on cost. As if that weren’t enough, investment managers also have to contend with the fact that the cost of doing business face to face is going up. While traveling around to visit clients and prospects in person is critical to building and maintaining strong relationships, it’s also expensive and time-consuming. Practically speaking, that often leaves investment managers in a tough spot, forcing them to become painstakingly judicious about when, where, and how they use face time. And that, ultimately, can have an impact on revenue.
Now that we have a sense of some of the challenges that investment managers face, let’s take a look at one of the innovative ways savvy firms are combatting them head on.
A Client-First Approach to Sales
Dealing with the challenges plaguing today’s investment managers calls for fresh thinking. For some firms, the solution is to reduce the cost of their client engagements while also using a combination of technology and marketing tactics to increase unaided sales.
By taking this client-first approach, investment firms can benefit from technology to make whatever time they are able to spend with clients much more meaningful.
Specifically, investment managers can adopt strategies that allow their marketing teams to own as much of the client journey as possible. In that way, it’s possible to increase unaided sales without the high cost of sending salespeople out into the field. Here, technology has the potential to play a critical role, not just on the marketing side, but also when salespeople actually meet with clients. For example:
- Investment managers have historically had to lug a trunk full of meeting materials along with them to face-to-face meetings. Today, however, they can use handheld technology that allows them to have everything they need in digital form right at their fingertips. Plus, they can customize those materials on the fly to suit each client’s individual needs, and pivot to find new materials when they’re requested.
- Marketing is now taking an active role in driving the timeliness of sales cadences and activities, making face-to-face meetings more meaningful by taking the guesswork out of their needs and goals through analytics.
- Firms are leveraging technology within both their marketing and distribution teams to gather client insights, data, and preferences. Armed with that data, it’s easier for salespeople to have more valuable client meetings by knowing exactly what their clients care about.
Ultimately, this hybrid coverage sales model doesn’t diminish the importance of—or seek to replace—client-facing meetings. Rather, it makes them more valuable and meaningful by leveraging technology to ensure that sales and marketing teams are aligned throughout the client journey.